Archelaus  [bef. 21 BCE-18 CE]

first son of Herod & Malthace.

Designated as chief heir to the Herodian monarchy (in 4 BCE) though not yet 20, the oldest of Herod's surviving sons was ill-prepared to succeed his father in a time of political unrest. While he imitated Herod's ruthless brutality, he possessed none of the latter's diplomatic skills. Archelaus had been raised in Rome by "a certain Jew" [Josephus, Antiquities 17.20], unlike his Hasmonean half-brothers who were given a Roman education in the imperial palace. He did not share in Antipater III's brief rise to power. And even after Antipater was imprisoned (5 BCE), Herod initially chose his youngest son (Antipas) rather than his eldest (Archelaus) to succeed him as king. But Herod altered his will just before he died to name Archelaus as heir to his office & half of his vast estate. 

Even before the will was ratified by the emperor, however, Archelaus proved that he was not fit to govern Jews, by sending troops into the temple during the celebration of Passover (4 BCE) to slaughter those who urged him to correct his father's acts of injustice. No sooner had he left for Rome to be confirmed as king than Judeans rebelled, with several self-proclaimed "kings" gathering bands of Jewish followers. Augustus confirmed Archelaus as ruler [ethnarch] of Judea & Samaria (his mother's homeland) but withheld the title "king" [basileus] until he proved himself worthy by quelling the rebellion. This Archelaus failed to do; and after ten years of social chaos in Judea, Augustus deposed him (6 CE), confiscated his estates in Roman Palestine, & made Judea & Samaria imperial provinces under the Roman military governor of Syria. Archelaus was permitted to retire to his father's estates on the French Riviera, where he died as he had begun: a private citizen of Rome.

References: Josephus, Antiquities 17.20, 80, 146, 188-250, 299-321, 339-355;
                                                        18.2, 26.
                  ______, War
1.562, 664-670; 2.1-40; 80-98, 111-117.

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